Today, Transformers: The Movie comes to Blu-ray for the first time as part of a celebration of the film's 30th anniversary from Shout! Factory, who recently acquired the rights.
The release -- also available on DVD and as a Steelbook Blu-ray -- comes with a digital copy, and as part of the product (transform and) roll-out, it's available as a digital on-demand title for the first time.
Of course, this isn't the first "prestige" release of this film that's happened in the home disc market era. Transformers: The Movie got a 20th anniversary special edition DVD a decade ago which, along with being its first major DVD release, featured a commentary track from creators, one from fans, plus deleted scenes, and a bunch of trailers, games, and the like.
This time around, we get something similar: the commentary track from director Nelson Shin, Story Consultant Flint Dille, and actor Susan Blu remains from ten years ago, but it's bolstered by featurettes, storyboards, and a feature-length documentary titled 'Til All Are One, which features interviews with about a dozen people involved with the production.
Unfortunately, not everything from the (impressive) 20th anniversary edition carried over -- and knowing that, it was always an uphill battle to make a "definitive" version of the disc -- but if not definitive, they've at least created a worthy release that clearly respects the fan-favorite material and showcases not the nostalgia, but the artistry and energy around it.
There's also a mini-documentary on restoring the film's footage for its first HD release -- the kind of special feature that is generally reserved for "serious" works.
"It never occurred to us that there was a kind of loyalty and fanaticism for the characters," says script supervisor Flint Dille in the special features -- but of course, the film is now over thirty years old, and as a pop culture touchstone, it's still at least significant enough to merit a home video release that likely cost more to make a reality than a lot of the smaller feature films that Shout! Factory typically gets the rights to.
And, yeah, basically everyone interviewed in these special features has been making bank at Bot Cons, Comic Cons, and other pop culture conventions for decades now.
So how's the disc itself? Aside from the great anecdotes and cool trivia on the new documentaries, the biggest thing that people will enjoy is the transfer. Last time around, it looked a bit better than the VHS releases had, but it was very much a standard definition release. This time around, there's no mistaking it: this is an HD remaster, and it looks better than it probably could reasonably be expected to -- comparable even to Warner Bros.' recent reissue of The Iron Giant.
In particular, the hugely-stylized "birth of Galvatron" part of the story is exciting to watch in the HD remaster -- there is so much more detail visible, rather than being washed out by light and color, that it's kind of remarkable. Watching the process of repairing some damaged scenes from elsewhere in the movie, with commentary from the technicians who did the restoration, give a pretty good idea as to why it's so impressive.
It's also clear that Shout! -- who did not do the 20th anniversary DVD -- took some cues from that disc's successes. The cover is a new, original piece of art that is reminiscent of the original movie poster (just like the 20th anniversary release), and the disc art itself utilizes one of the big plot elements that's round. In the previous iteration, the disc art was Unicron, whereas this time around it's the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.
Again: it's difficult to call this a "definitive" edition of the home video release, since some of its best content comes from the 20th anniversary edition, which actually had more content, even if some of the content wasn't as good as it is this time around. If it isn't definitive, though, it's close enough to it that anybody who genuinely loves this film needs to get their hands on a copy.